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Andrei Sokolov vs Arkadij Naiditsch
French Team Championship (2015), Le Grau-du-Roi FRA, rd 8, Jun-06
Philidor Defense: Exchange Variation (C41)  ·  1-0


Annotations by Stockfish (Computer).      [16829 more games annotated by Stockfish]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Ah, I missed line d) above courtesy of
<agb2002> Oh well I think in a real game I would have a long careful think as it is just before such moves when one is clearly winning that it pays to be very wary to avoid egg on face tragedy...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <dumbgai: Ah, I went for 40. Re8 but didnít notice 40...Ra8 until later. No credit for me.>

This is a good answer as you now remember to double check (if it is important to you to improve or you just like solving problems which a lot of people do, the solve problems and study games for the enjoyment rather than to necessarily improve which is good also).

I also make such errors as you did. I was trying to solve a problem (from a real game recently) which we have in our local "Listener" here in NZ courtesy of Leonard Barden who also does one in the British paper The Guardian which I sometimes see (he also often has a current game in there by the way), and I found most of the moves but not the key one that crunched it. I was solving it in a coffee bar after excuse is that here is is really hot and humid and I was tired! (Which was true but perhaps not a good enough excuse). But by saying the truth, it means if you do want to improve it is good. And also as <yadasampati> says you are being honest and in general that is worthy of credit indeed. Good on you!

<<yadasampati: <dumbgai> You get credit for being honest!>>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Conrad93: 28...Nc6? was the point at which black started crumbling.>

Yes. A good summation. Nc6 was a strange move compared to taking on c2...

Jan-31-18  morfishine: A forced mate! Naiditsch is a pretty doggone solid player capable of brilliant play when he's pushed, but sometimes, he just gets steamrolled...


Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: I would love to be black and find 40.♖e8 ♖a8. Ah the joy!
Jan-31-18  scholes: 40 Re8 is 0.08
Jan-31-18  FrogC: <saturn2> Yes, but now 40...Ra8 is met by 41. Rxa8 Qxa8 Re8+ The difference is that the a8 rook is captured with the rook on the d file, leaving the e-file rook free to get to the protected square on the back rank. I saw the defence, but not this clever way round it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: Have 39.Q:f8+ Q:f8 40.Rd8
Jan-31-18  Mayankk: Too subtle for me. I was fixated on either Qe8 or Re8 in the first two moves...
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Got the first move of today's Wednesday (39. ?) puzzle. However for my second planned move, after 39. Qxf8+ Rxf8, all I considered was 40. Re8? which fizzles out to a near level position after 40...Ra8 41. Rxf8+ Rxf8 42. Be2 h5! (not 42...Nxe2?? 43. Re6 +-) 43. Bc4 = to ⩲ (+0.22 @ 37 ply, Stockfish 8).

After I looked at the game continuation and saw 40. Rd8! played as White's second move of the combination, I immediately realized the 40...Ra8 problem is then (i.e. after 40.Rd8! Ra8) solved by 41. Rxa8 Qxa8 42. Re8+ Qxe8 43. Pxe8(Q)#.

P.S.: Black's game goes bad after the surrender of a pawn with 28...Nc6? 29. Bxd6 Bxd6+ 30. Rxd6 ± (+1.48 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 8).

Instead of giving up a Black pawn, grabbing a White pawn with 28...Rxc2 holds the position level after 28...Rxc2 29. Bxe5 Rxe5 30. Rxe5 dxe5 = (0.00 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 8).

Jan-31-18  JohnBoy: <Conrad> gives a sequence starting w 26...Rxc2 which leaves black a whole lot better off than in the game. This sequence is not, however, forced. For example 26...Rxc2 27.Bxe5 Rxe5 28.Rxd6 is a potentially reasonable branch.

Can someone w engine skills plz assess the position after white's 26th? After 26...Rxc2?


Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: At first I automatically went for 39.Q:f8 Q:f8 40.Re8? Ra8 then seen 40.Rd8!
Jan-31-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: <EIDorado>,

I'm not sure what your point is. On Move 40 in the game position, White can play either Re8 or Rd8. Re8 is the more obvious and straightforward on the surface, because of the f7 pawn. However, it winds up actually being the more difficult win, because the defense 40 ... Ra8 is more effective.

My claim, however, is 40 Re8 does actually win anyway, because after the exchange at f8 White can maneuver the d6 rook to e8 quickly enough to overcome any Black attempt at defense.

Jan-31-18  lost in space: No blossoms for me today, I went for 40. Re8, totally missing 40...Ra8
Jan-31-18  stst: Ra8 may be the rescue / delay, using which R when is critical: 39.QxR+ QxQ
40.Rd8 pins Ra8
(if QxR, 41.Re8+ QxR, 42.PxQ=Q wins)
41.RxQ+ RxR
42.Re8 Ne6
(if...... RxR, 43.PxR=Q+ wins)
43.Bg4 and the N can no loner defend the R@f8.
Jan-31-18  stst: <..Naiditsch is a pretty doggone solid player..>

Was at one time a German hopeful, no more. As time elapses, Naid never rises to the top, not even 2nd tier tourneys. Chess is quite a mechanic game, though qualities of all other sorts are necessary... Germans should be able to excel...given their niche in engineering (math, science & tech too of course!!)

Jan-31-18  morfishine: <stst> I remember just after the World vs Naiditsch game, he played a horrid game with White and was beaten remorselessly. The next game he played with relentless fury and crushed his opponent brilliantly

In any case, I like this type of game/theme as long as it doesn't happen to me! lol


Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Here's a nonsensical variation from the puzzle position but it remakes the puzzle.

After 39 Bxg6 Ra8, white to play and win.

click for larger view

Jan-31-18  devere: I looked at 39.Qxf8+ Qxf8 40.Re8 and couldn't find a good answer to 40...Ra8. Then I spotted 40.Rd8. It's a good Wednesday problem.

Naiditsch was born and raised in Latvia, before moving to Germany for 10 years, and now Azerbajian.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Like <dumbgui> I first went for 39.Qxf8+ Qxf8 40.Re8 which seemed like a straightforward win (I hadn't seen 40...Ra8). But Lasker must have been whispering in my ear, "when you see a good move, look for a better one". So then I saw 40.Rd8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: And it's perhaps not a coincidence that after I finished my post I saw <>'s random saying, "Examine all moves that smite." :-)
Jan-31-18  Halldor: Very interesting maneuver of the heavy pieces on the eighth rank. I got 39 Qxf8 but only thought of 40 Re8? as many. It is vital that the second rook can go to the eighth rank protected by the pawn on f7.
Jan-31-18  Pchief: It is crucial to realize that black has the Ra8 defense, and that the e-file rook, receiving the aid of f7-pawn, is more potent and should not be worn down with the Ra8 in an attrition.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: Thanks to the two advanced pawns, White can exploit Black's weak back rank: 39.Qxf8+ Qxf8 40.Rd8! and now

A) 40... Qxd8 41.Re8+ Qxe8 42.fxe8Q#

B) 40... h6 41.Rxf8+ Kh7 42.Rh8+ Kxh8 43.f8Q+ Kh7 44.Qg7#

C) 40... Ne6 41.Rxf8+ Nxf8 42.Re8, and mate is unstoppable: 42...h6 see B)

D) 40... Ra8 41.Rxa8, and further as above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Del ToRo: I think it must have been very difficult to find the solution under the pressure of a real game.
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